A COUNCIL leader has been compared to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un amid accusations he has been ‘removing democracy’ from Gosport town hall.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Peter Chegwyn, leader of Gosport Borough Council, was met with strong opposition from Conservative members.

A meeting was called after Cllr Phillip Raffaelli used a standing order on May 30 to bring proposals on car parking charges and community skips to full council.

Standing order 5.11.1 allows any service board decision to be postponed until it’s considered at a full council meeting – where it can be scrutinised in more depth.

Cllr Chegwyn proposed a vote on removing the standing order from the council’s constitution, something Cllr Raffaelli described as ‘a frank assault on democracy’.

Conservative Cllr Stephen Philpott said there was no choice but to invoke the standing order.

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‘That was just last week and here we are now in an extraordinary council meeting called by the leadership to abolish 5.11,’ he said.

‘He is [Cllr Chegwyn] neither liberal nor democratic. In fact, frankly, he ought to be prosecuted under the Trade Descriptions Act.

‘The model for these Liberals isn’t John Stuart Mill, it’s Kim Jong-un.

‘I’m making a reasonable comparison, I’m making a comparison with someone who is a totalitarian dictator – I’ll let the public make up their minds.’

Former leader of the council, Cllr Graham Burgess, said the vote was about ‘removing democracy and bringing in autocracy’.

He added: ‘We’re here to represent our residents democratically. Cllr Chegwyn after one meeting has removed the democratic process of this council.’

The proposal was also criticised by two Labour councillors, who believed that removing the standing order would affect political scrutiny.

Cllr June Cully said: "Scrutiny is a valid part that councillors can employ to ensure other views are listened to and all the facts are brought to the table.

"I am thankful to Cllr Raffaelli to bring the items to full council this evening where we’ve able to have a full debate – that’s the whole purpose.

"You should never turn deaf ears to other people’s points of view.’

Cllr Chegwyn dismissed allegations and said the motion is to prevent time-consuming debates.

"The reason why we’re doing this tonight is because you used the item to try and delay part of our business just so you can object to it a second time," he said.

"We are quite determined to get on with doing things for this town and we will be judged not by you, but by the electorate in two years.

"I’m not going to respond to the abuse – if you have to make those silly remarks about North Korean dictators then frankly you’ve already lost the argument.

‘I hope the council will support this tonight as a way of getting on business instead of having repetitive debate over repetitive debate’s sake."

After a named vote members passed the motion 13 votes to 12.

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